Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C OVERVIEW
The Alfa Romeo 4C marks the start of the Italian brand's heralded return to the U.S. after a two-decade absence. While this limited production sports car is just a precursor to a whole line of cars in the pipeline, it does give Alfa Romeo a performance credential not seen anywhere in many years, and a legitimate threat to some established names.
What's New for 2015
The 4C is, for all intents and purposes, a new offering this year. The first 500 cars delivered in 2014 were Launch Editions with special colors, carbon fiber trim, race suspension and sport seats, among other options.
Choosing Your Alfa Romeo 4C
All 4Cs are coupes powered by a mid-mounted 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 237 horsepower. The sole transmission choice is Alfa's "twin-clutch" transmission operated by steering wheel paddles, sending power to the rear wheels. Unusual in this price category is the carbon fiber frame and composite bodywork that work to keep the 4C's weight to just over a ton -- a tiny amount considering the power on tap.
As the Launch Edition shows, prices can escalate quickly with options. Remember that unlike a Porsche Cayman, you can't make an Alfa 4C into quite the same comfortable everyday sports car. Money is best spent on what will make it a more enjoyable driver's car.